I think he was a pretend preacher with oversize comedy hands and he and the church choir were clapping their hands and singing "Brotherly, brotherly, brotherly love".
It was a flashback from some 1970's TV programme and it jumped into my head as I thought about "brotherly love" over the last couple of weeks.
You will agree with me, I'm sure, that if we are going to witness true 'brotherly love' in this day and age, then the Christian Church should be the ideal place to see it. After all, as Christians, we are all expected to be 'Christ imitators'. And who loved quite like Jesus did!
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
So what happens in a church if the 'love levels' have dropped somewhat? What if the Christ-like love between our brothers (and sisters) in the Lord have taken a knock?
As I looked at the Bible, I gleaned a few precious bits and bobs, a couple of which I wanted to share here. Of course, if I have missed some other truths or, worse, failed to bring out the true scriptural meaning, please don't hesitate to email me and put me right!
I learned that if there is actual sin between brothers in the Lord (or sisters …or between brothers and sisters), then there is a procedure in the Bible which should be followed. This was given by Jesus Himself and is to be found in Matthew 18: 15-17.
Now I had known this passage was there, but I also learned that this is only when there is actual wrongdoing between individual believers in a church. It is useful to note the word 'private' too in verse 15. If someone has truly wronged us, our first course of action should involve keeping the matter private.
But what about all those times when the falling out between Christians may be due to no more than annoyance, frustration, anger, misunderstanding etc. etc? Well it looks like these 'reasons' for the friction just aren't valid! As someone else has put it, when commenting on Matthew 18: 15-17…
The fact that Christ is discussing real sin, an actual violation of God's law is important for two reasons:
So to come back to the question about what to do with dropping 'love levels' in the church. According to the Bible, we are commanded to love one another, it's not optional…
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4: 7-8)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
We would also do well to remember that the love of the saints for one another is a powerful witness to the presence and power of Christ. When this is lacking, then our witness is hindered. How can we love people on the outside if we fail to love those on the inside?
Please keep on praying for the local church, for the fellowship within that church and for the work that it does in reaching out to the local community. Any work done for the Lord will be open to attack, in some form or another. As there is so much hostility to 'Biblical Christianity' today, we all need to do our bit in support of our church, our leaders, our Pastor and in particular the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
If I can end this month with some really good news from the Grove church. Literally, just this week we heard that 5 young people in our Youth Club on Friday night had asked Jesus to be their personal Saviour!
In ourselves our work is futile. But if done in His power and for His glory, then if it is His will, that work will be blessed. Till next month then (DV)…
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. (1 John 3:14)
(All quotations are from the NASB)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!